Resolutions & Decor Dreaming.  A Designer’s Bucket List of Dream Projects.

First, I need to apologize for missing last month’s blog “Stained Glass, Tales of Color” that was supposed to be published. You see, a week before Christmas, when my blog would have come out, I suffered a technological apocalypse.  My laptop experienced a quick and spontaneous demise.  It turned on once briefly giving me a glimmer of hope but alas it was just enough to quickly harvest files onto a jump drive and then it glowed no more. When I logged onto my blog to complete it for the month on another laptop, I realized it was completely unsaved and was truly lost. I will address the topic again at a later date as it’s already written in my mind, but right now with the help of a new laptop, it’s time for the next scheduled topic of resolutions and decor dreams.

As the hurried pace of the holidays slows and the decorations come down, the focus shifts to the new year before us.  Many people set resolutions; goals or dreams for themselves for the upcoming year.  Most designers have a secret list of project types they would love to do in their professional lifetime.  As a designer, I’ve taken that approach and created a bucket list of projects I aspire to be involved with at some point, may it be this year or in the future.

As an introduction on why these items are on my list, I like places that drip with ambiance.  To make a place memorable and enjoyable, they have to exude character and have a good vibe.  A restaurant for example, has to have a combination of good food and service, plus great atmosphere to bring repeat clients.  If you have one of these food or drink venue related projects, call me today! I would clear my schedule for you…

  1. Wine Bar
  2. Moroccan Restaurant
  3. French Bistro/Bakery
  4. English Pub/Old World Tavern
  5. Jazz Club

Now, here are some pretty pictures, let’s all dream together.

brick wall interior, cafe, renovated historic building, loft living

french bistro, french bakery, restaurant designers

ice cream parlor, cafe, vintage charm restaurants

french bakery, pastries, cafe design, restaurant design, chefs, french menus

cafe design, white wash brick wall, light fixtures, espresso bar design, interior designers in MA

jazz club, pub design, martini lounge, atmospheric establishments

My design resolutions aren’t all food related.  If you have one of these commercial or residential projects I will still excitedly clear my schedule for you…

  1. Modern Office
  2. Mid Century Modern House
  3. Studio Apartment
  4. Tiny House
  5. Restored Cottage
  6. Whimsical Preschool
  7. Surf Shack


studio apartment, loft, mid century modern

tiny house living, tiny homes, cottages, downsizing, interior designers in MA

Happy New Year everyone and thanks for reading my blog!  Set your 2018 goals high and make them happen.  Whether you want to renovate, redecorate, or just rejuvenate, contact my studio, I’d be happy to help you.


Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join next time: “Beyond Daylight; it’s all about Connectivity.”


Designer Tips & Tricks; Creating a Vibe. 

When it comes to creating a cohesive and knock out space that’s on budget, interior designers have several tricks up their sleeve.   From creative material use, budget friendly sourcing, and spatial analysis, a quality designer can blast a bland or chaotic space into the aesthetic stratosphere.  This month I’ve curated a list of five situations that often arise in conversations regarding designer tips and tricks.

1.How do you create the biggest bang for you buck with a back splash?

In my September blog post DIY Kitchen Renovation,  I eluded to a  budget trick regarding the back splash area in a kitchen to make the most drama.  Match the tile color identically and paint the remaining above portion of the wall, carrying it to the ceiling.  It creates a knockout look for a budget price, particularly if you’ve chosen a bold color of tile.  Look for cues from trim and flanking cabinets to decide where to stop extending the accent paint color, keeping it focused above the sink or stove.

The example below shows a pairing of red glass mosaic tile and a swatch of Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year 2018, Caliente.

2.Is there a budget option to granite or quartz?

Solid surface counters do not get enough attention due to their bigger and more expensive siblings granite and quartz.  Its a viable upgrade from laminate counters by far without breaking the bank.  The colors are similar to granite and quartz and the material mimics the granular aggregate of natural stone.  I recommend selecting matte finish rather than high gloss to hide the scratches on solid surface, however, review solid surface specifications like you would prior to any purchase.   Common brands are Meganite, Corian, Staron, and Wilsonart,  Its a sensible option for smaller budgets.

interior samples

3.How do you choose the correct size faucet?

Many people don’t consider the ergonomics behind a faucet, however you will once you do dishes in that sink for the first time.  Taller people with longer arms don’t need a faucet that reaches into the sink as far as smaller stature people do.  However, shorter people will suffer from backache because of having to reach forward past the middle of the sink.  To select a faucet correctly, measure how far forward the head will need to reach to your palms with your elbows resting on the front edge of the sink counter.  This will affect your back when washing both hands and dishes.   Also, if you wash large pots and pans  look at the height of the faucet.


4.How do you lay out a gallery wall correctly?

This one is tricky for me, as I am such a big stickler for symmetry and uniform margins when laying out anything from a floor plan, design board, or artwork.  The key to a good gallery wall layout, that’s currently on trend, is balance and spread.  It should appear as one large ensemble.  Nothing should overhang the area where its centered, no object should overpower the eye’s attention, and objects should be closer together than farther apart.  I recommend laying it out on the floor and start with the center objects first.

In the example below, many of the frames are too small for the spacing and the eye is drawn to the meaningless ampersand sign. The mirrors reflect nothing to the viewer.  With careful rearranging, the frames can be laid out in a rectangular grid, the mirrors moved to a useful location, while the “and” sign is removed.

gallery 1

5.Where do you find old architectural relics?

If you’re fortunate enough to live in a part of the country where antique malls and fairs occur, definitely check those out, however, one of the best places to source architectural pieces is Habitat For Humanity Restore. New and used Items are donated and then categorized into building sections, like doors, windows, cabinets, furniture, and lighting for example. These stores sell the items to the public and the profits go towards Habitat For Humanity.  Check here for store locations.

Whether you’re updating a back splash or counter, changing out your faucets, or adding the finishing touches of decor with art and accessories, creating a harmonious  and cohesive look is key to creating the vibe you desire.  Interior designers can be a great asset while you procure items for your space.  Contact my studio, I’d be happy to help.


Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join in December: “Stained Glass, Tales of Color.“

color trends, color usage, paint color ideas, interior design

Knowing & Using Color Well


T’is the season of color!  From October through February, the holiday season creates a race through the color spectrum.  We kick off with oranges, reds, and golds of autumn, the deep purple and orange of Halloween, moving to plum and brandy colors of Thanksgiving then into deep reds and greens for the Christmas season. The crisp blue and silver of Hanukkah and the bold black, red, and green of Kwanzaa bring even more festivity. We welcome the new year with silver, black and gold and finish the winter with the barren feel of white and brown.  Yes, there is the red and pink show for Valentine’s Day, the green parade of St Patrick’s Day, lavender shower for Easter and the colors of spring and summer flowers, but no other time of year is color ever more present in such a rapid succession. Color is all around us and quite rightly so.  It invokes feeling, reaction, ambiance, mood, and stimulation.  So, take these feelings and bring them indoors.

holiday lights

Paint Selection

The trick to using color well is understanding its undertones, meaning, the colors that are behind the front color.  For example, is it a pure color or does it look “dirty”? By that I mean that the color isn’t a true color, but rather a gray or beige version of it.  Is there another color in the background?  White, for example, is famous for having a second color present.  As an experiment, hold your paint swatch next to a piece of blank printer paper and you’ll see what I mean.  Then, look at how much black or white does your color contain (how far up or down is it on the paint swatch card.) Does it read as a pastel, mid tone, or a deep tone?

Current color trends are getting darker, bolder, and a little dirty.   This works better for walls and lets the furnishings and decor hold the true color versions to accessorize and feature.  These types of paint colors tend to change in the daylight as the day progresses and become moodier as the evening sets in to create ambiance. The black undertones come out allowing the contrast to increase of adjacent white trim  and metallic hardware. If wood trim is your preference, opt for middle tones of the color.

Paint Location

The trend used to be an accent wall, now its more of an accent area or alcove.  Painting a bigger space creates a bigger impact.  The corners of the room blur as the color continues to define to an area rather than a single, flat surface.


Colors in the Home

The 60’s and 70’s brought avocado and burnt orange.  The 1980’s brought mauve and pastels.  The 90’s brought the golden oak craze paired with jewel tones of hunter green, navy blue, and burgundy.  The 2000’s brought espresso brown and beige, mimicking the Tuscany region in Italy.  The Tuscan influence touched everything from bronze fixtures and lighting to large scale stately furnishings and dark wood trim.  If you didn’t choose the brown Tuscan style, did you have the red accent wall in the kitchen and brushed nickel finishes? Coming out of the 2010’s to present day is the all white kitchen, gray or “greige” walls and shiny chrome metal.

The color trend is moving into drama!  Dark and dirty jewel tones are even showing up in kitchen cabinetry.  Mid tone woods are also raging due to the renaissance of the mid century modern style.  Its time to bring color back. Below are the selected paint colors from various paint manufacturers for 2o17 and 2018.  These colors are where the paint industry believes the trends are headed.  It should be noted that Pantone (considered to be the industry leader in color) at the beginning of every year announces their choice of the “hot” new color, driving influence into all design fields from interiors, to clothing, and graphics.



Sad to say, but the pale neutrals of the Farmhouse style have had their time in the spotlight. Moving in aggressively are neo-classic styles that take the standard furniture profiles and turn them on their heads.  Traditional armchairs are showing up in bold colors with animal prints. Mix in a little bit of the eclectic granny Chic and some feature mid tone antique wood pieces with a bold wall color and you have the new classic.  It’s the navy pin stripe suit with a dark fuchsia tie and caramel color shoes.

Bring in the color, don’t be afraid!  Contact my studio for assistance in selecting the perfect colors for your project.

P.S. Tune into my Facebook page, routinely I post “Design Ideas” featuring a specific color. These montages are great ways to get some inspiration for the specific color you desire. Also if your’re working with the exterior of your home, check out my previous blog Creating curb appeal and exterior detail for additional color tips.


Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join in November: “Designer Tips & Tricks; Creating a Vibe.

wedding themes, wedding decor, interior decorating, interior styling ideas, decor ideas, baby rooms, vacation homes, themed weddings

How to Style Simply & the 4 Offenders.

As I sit down to start writing this month’s blog, it’s 92 degrees outside with a heat index climbing to 100.  It’s time to take a break from the heat and discuss a lighter interior topic: styling.  More specifically, style overload, as I call it.  When an idea is created for the inspiration of a project and accessory styling takes over turning the space into a themed space.  Leave the theme parks to Disney, they’re professionals, they do it very, VERY well.  Everyone else hold back!

The difference between theme and inspiration is how simplicity is implemented and the quantity of themed accessories used.  Inspiration equates to a hint, an idea, or suggestion to the viewer.  A theme however, leaves no doubt what the concept is, its obvious and blatant.  Besides getting a bit kitschy when styling the accessories, themes detract from the main event, induce stress, and consume resources such as time and money.

The biggest offenders of styling overload and themes are:

1. Wedding Receptions

By far, the biggest offender!  Take the idea of a rustic inspiration for a minute.  OK, you’re a sassy cowgirl who loves teal.  Your bridesmaids will wear teal dresses and brown cowboy boots while you wear teal ones under your gown, go on and bring out that personality!  You’ve found the perfect reception hall, its a beautiful candlelit barn with tulle hanging from the antique rafters, so romantic, you’re doing great, keep going!

rustic barn reception, rustic wedding, beautiful barns, farm wedding, country wedding

Now, for the seating, you thought hay bales draped with riding blankets, the table settings will be wrapped in twine, the bouquets and boutonnieres will be secured in burlap, the invitations will be printed on gunny sack embossed paper and will have teal horseshoe icons at the bottom.  Careful, we’re in dangerous styling territory now.

rustic wedding, burlap table settings, wedding decor ideas

While you’re at it, cowboy boot charms will dangle from every nook and cranny, when you two kiss everyone will yell “Yee Haw!” and toast you with their mason jars filled with moonshine cocktails.  Too far cowgirl, too far!  You know what works well for seating? chairs.  Do you know what’s difficult to untie when you’re hungry? twine knots.  Leave the mason jars to your pickles and preserves.  Besides, what are you going to do with 250 cowboy boot charms after the wedding?

Another reason for keeping the themed inspiration in line is it will help reduce stress during preparation before the wedding and focuses the resources on the bigger ticket items like food, drink, hall rental, and music.  Wedding planning arguments prior to the wedding get more and more ridiculous as the day gets closer.  The topics are petty and the details don’t matter in the long run.  Save the decor budget from the craft store and put it towards the reception.  Guests want two things in a wedding: witness the happy couple get married and then attend an awesome party.  They’ll remember the fantastic food and the complimentary bar long before they remember your time consuming, intricate centerpieces, handmade butter cream mints and custom inked, hand embossed wedding invitations that you and your crew spent weeks designing and making.

simple wedding decor, orange and white weddings, tangerine wedding decor, simple wedding themes

Simplicity is key in wedding planning.  Choose one color as a subtle accent, sprinkle a few flowers petals, light the candles, and keep the themed details few.   A concept wedding is fun and lively, but should provide only a backdrop or atmosphere, not the main focus.  When the couple enters, they should be the center as intended.


2. Baby Rooms

Similar to themed wedding receptions are baby room themes.  Many couples get inspired for a room once they discover the gender of the baby but run crazy with it.  From themed cribs and bedding, hand painted mural walls, custom designed art, special light fixtures and curtains.  That’s a lovely dream but let’s get back to reality, eager parents.

For the first few months, your newborn’s vision can’t see more than black, white and primary bold colors, then after that, they’re into faces, shapes, and bold patterns.  The baby’s room for the first year is for you.  It needs to be functional and stress free, while providing a safe place for your infant to sleep and play.  They don’t understand themes and decor, save that for later when your preschool aged prince or astronaut wants to sleep in a castle or spaceship, then do the theme room.  Keep the decor basic however, children’s interest change like the seasons, so replacing themed decorations constanly gets expensive. 

baby room ideas, gray and pink baby rooms, themed baby rooms
Pay special attention to items placed above the crib and changing station for reaching hazards.  Nothing besides the fitted sheet should be placed in the crib and window coverings should be cord free.

When decorating a baby’s room, also think of how the room will evolve through childhood to the teen years and then to a guest room when they’re an adult.  I always advise skipping the twin bed for example.  After the crib has transformed to a toddler bed and is outgrown, go straight to a double /full bed.  Its just over a foot wider than a twin, most rooms can accommodate the extra width.  The bed will be more comfortable for childhood reading and snuggling, then lounging as teens, and a guest bed as an adult.

3. Vacation Homes

Yay! You have the vacation home of your dreams!  It’s walking distance to the beach, you can see the water from your bedroom windows and you can bike to quaint shops and awesome restaurants. Now, hang on a second before your start decorating it, don’t spoil it!

Vacation homes located by the beach, for the obvious reason, conjure ideas of surfing and fun in the sun.  A jar of collected seashells from family walks is cute nostalgia, a coir  walk off mat for sand by the back door is practical.  Go ahead and cover all the furniture in durable canvas, but please pause when you want to hang fishing nets, lobster cages, and buoy floats above your mantle. That’s a theme, not inspiration.

California living, beach house, vacation home, second home, dream house, outside living room ideas

Another trend that ruins the calmness and serenity of a vacation home are bright pastel color palettes.  In a previous blog I mention color schemes in regards to location. (Beyond the Beige Box; 6 ways to create curb appeal and exterior detail.)

If you’ve traveled anywhere to a different climate you may have noticed the buildings are painted very differently.  Mainly to do with weather conditions, cultural influences, but also to do with the sun, particularly the quality of sunlight.

I recently read an article in a decor magazine recommending coral painted walls with mint striped upholstery and brass accessories for coastal homes.  Not even the quaintest ice cream parlors should tackle that color combination.  Unless your house is located in the heart of Key West, would I recommend bright pastel colors.  Even then, do it with caution and a light touch.  Vacation homes should sooth and relax you, not jolt you.  Bring out your bright personality in more subtle ways like your dishes or bedding, not floor to ceiling all over your house.

4. Staged Homes

Any real estate agent will tell you that a staged home sells easier, assuming its done well.  My concern is when staging turns stale.  It is well established that neutral color palettes appeal to more buyers, but a bit of color can make the space feel lively.  Accent colors are often used in staging for this purpose, however, sometimes incorrectly.  Monochromatic accent colors (only using one and the same one) throughout the house makes the staging seem fake and stale.

house staging, home staging ideas, turquoise decor, real estate

For example, say the chosen accent color is turquoise.  A bright refreshing turquoise shag rug is laid across the entry, contrasting the wood floor, cheerful!  Turquoise accent pillows get strategically placed to the armchairs, the large painting above the sofa gets swapped for one that has turquoise, then a set of tall glass vases containing turquoise beads and baubles is placed on the mantle.  Now walk into the kitchen, turquoise table linens dress the dining table with a large turquoise bowl overflowing with fruit is placed on the kitchen island.  The bathrooms all have a turquoise hand towel and a matching turquoise candle.  The master bedroom is beautifully dressed in fresh white linens and dark wood furniture, but now there’s a strategic turquoise blanket folded at the end of the bed and a specifically placed stool at the bedside…that’s, you guessed it, turquoise. Enough!


home staging, house stagings, turquoise decor, gray dining rooms, silver accessories

If using accent colors when staging a home, use two to three in different combinations throughout the home.  This makes each room stay united but still feel fresh.  Second, don’t get too crazy with the accessories that are brought in for the staging.  People don’t have that many vases, lamps, bowls, and sculptures so strategically placed around their home, (especially in the bathrooms!)  Remove the clutter, arrange the furniture, sprinkle a few fresh color attributes and then…STOP.

In general, when styling a space, the point is to celebrate and honor the interior not overwhelm it.  Perusing professional interior design videos posted online recently regarding styling of accessories, I was shocked at the finished room examples.  They were so full of accessories, styled to the hilt, that the room could pass for a shop.  Add price tags and the displays were ready.  Its time to scale back the tchotchkes.  Yes, the occasional decorative bowl or vase adds detail, however not on every surface and shelf.  Make it pretty but keep it simple.  Remember, inspiration not theme.


Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join in July: “Minimalism & Simple Living

Break Out Of The Box; No More Cubicles!

Every day we hear the terms Baby Boomer, Gen Xer, and Millennial in reference to the impacts each one is making in working world.

“Baby boomers are retiring.”

“Gen Xers are taking over the reins” 

“Millennials are redefining the work envrionment” 

With each one of these generations, comes their preferential work place stereotype: Boomers want offices, Gen X’s comfort is in cubes, Millennials thrive in coffee shops.  Mix in tech businesses and hip start ups with their funky lounges, inside gardens, gyms, and complimentary kitchens, standard office design has been turned on its head.   Now add extrovert and introvert social preferences and the latest discussion on emotional intelligence awareness in the workplace.  Its a wonder anyone is productive.  How’s a company supposed to find a comfortable balance without jumping on every new trend? Suffice it to say, creating an office environment for all different types of people to succeed is a challenge.

History of Office Design

Office design started in the beginning of the 1900’s because of several factors and key individuals.  With the development of steel production in building construction, larger spans and more open spaces were possible.  Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Larkin Admin Building,  considered to be one of the first business oriented buildings.  Henry Ford took the idea of the assembly line for his office layouts, lining up desks end to end, with managers at the end and corners for supervision.

Fast forward to the 1960’s and the German idea of “Burolandschaft” or office landscaping blossoms.  The social movement of the time evolved top down supervision to a more natural and collaborative flow.  Managers desks were mingled in and rigidly lined up rows of desks were free flowing in meandering organic lines.  Plants were introduced as dividers and the atmosphere focused on the people.  The late 1970’s introduced dividing panels to bring back privacy and improved acoustics.  By the 80’s, the cube farm was in full force and remained the standard until the tech industry upped the ante in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

Before the tech industry, a typical office break room had a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and maybe a vending machine with cafeteria style seating for lunch.  Now its full complimentary kitchens, basketball hoops, pool tables, swings, and even napping rooms. People’s workstations are personalized with their bikes suspended on cables, inflatable palm trees in the corner, and their dog sleeping under their desk.

office atrium

The NEW Standard

The Layout

Private Offices- One of the biggest financial burdens of a company is the office itself.  Rent of office space is figured per square foot.  Private offices are less efficient than furnished workstations because they require a bigger footprint for that one person.  Modifications are more difficult as its real construction vs. moving furniture.  Private offices still conjure up a sense of status and that is a hard mind frame to break.  The quintessential corner office of the baby boomer generation meant that you finally made it.   Needs and wants are different when considering using an office.  For the most part, confidentiality should be the only reason a private office is needed.  Areas such as Human Resources, medical, financial, or legal are the only fields where privacy dictates hard offices.  Beyond that, a private office is a want and simply a reward of status.  Give a director or officer of a company a large swanky office where they spend most of their day in conference rooms or traveling, makes no sense financially in regards to rent and usable space.  A company must ask themselves when designing their office layout, are offices necessary?

Workstations- Clustered workstations are the new version of the old cubicle.  The typical 5′-6′ high cubical wall has all but disappeared in office furniture showrooms.  When used, panels are now 3′-4′ high to allow cross communication between teams.  File cabinets nestle underneath desks and double as guest seating.  Desks are typically coupled into clusters of 4-8 people creating families. Bookcases and cabinets usually border the clusters and create aisles flowing to community lounge spaces, conference rooms, and break facilities at the perimeter.

Hot Desks- Another aspect of what type of desk or work area is to analyze the duration of the employee being on site.  Would a “hot desk” environment work better for traveling or telecommuting staff?  Employees who are frequently away from the building might simply need a desk compared to their desk.  Sharing desks or drop-in desks (hoteling) also allow for visiting employees from other branches to use.

Open Studios- Studio style offices are typically done with one long table divided into each person’s work area.  Collaboration is free and occurs constantly.  Open studio style layouts have become very popular however they do come with their drawbacks.  Noise and distractions are top complaints among this set up style.  Introverts for example, may desire quiet time and seek refuge in far corners.  With an open studio style office, private alcoves and nooks are necessary as employees do make personal phone calls during the day, people do get stressed and tears do flow.  Thus, provide a place for  decompression and emotional intelligence awareness.

Conference Rooms- Community gathering spaces both casual for breaks or formal for meetings are still placed in central locations.  Aquarium style conference rooms are popular (all glass fronts), people can see if the room is occupied and the room doesn’t feel isolated.  However, if privacy is needed some sort of partial window film or electrochromic glass that frosts on command can be used.  Aquarium style conference rooms may seem off putting to some but their driving concept of open communication and lack of barriers hones the community vibe.

Co-working Spaces- Maybe you are a small company, whether starting out or fully established and a co-working space is a better fit.  With these configurations, your company shares main, larger facilities such as conference rooms, restrooms, and kitchens with other businesses.  Your area remains sectioned off and secure, but you mingle with other businesses in the common areas, reducing the size of your individual rented space and overlapping in communal facilities that are easily shared.  Cambridge Innovation Center is just one of many co-working spaces in the Boston metro area.

co-working space

The Furnishings

Ergonomically designed furniture is standard.  Today’s office chairs adjust up, down, back and forth.  Armrests go in all directions also.  Seats are cushioned or mesh with adjustable springs and lumbar support.  You don’t need the designer line, just make sure its adjustable and durable.  Workstations are now available with height adjustments, allowing for standing.  Treadmill desks and under desk peddles are also commonplace.  Physical comfort is paramount.  Your employees work hard for you, don’t make their back hurt.

Anyone who has worked in an office for any length of time knows that when someone leaves, their space gets ransacked by the remaining staff.  Anything from a better stapler to the newer chair gets snatched up.  When this occurs, the remnant work areas and cubes are bleak and then casted off to the next hired worker bee who comes along.  Nothing says “Welcome!” better than the oldest computer, wonky chair, and a broken stapler.  Joking aside, part of a company’s on boarding standards should be establishing a standard workstation.

Technology is monitored by IT departments, but who monitors the furnishings?  Some companies do have facility departments, but they receive direction from someone else. All items have a life cycle and they need to be placed on a replacement schedule with allocated budgets.  Cost of commercial grade office furniture being what it is can be a difficult expense for a company to justify.  There are now furniture companies out there that re-purpose and and reconstruct your existing furniture to your new desired aesthetic.   Davies Office is one such company.  From adjusting file cabinets to lowering panel heights to reupholstering chairs this company can assist in reusing what you already have, thus reducing the full replacement costs.

The Company Culture

In a previous blog (Making room) I discuss first impressions a company’s furniture can make on a client, visitor, and potential employees:

If you advertise your business as being current or cutting edge, but your conference room screams 1990, that’s a confusing message.  Your physical office counts just as much for your branding image as your logo, webpage, and slogan.

Create a Vibe- Office furniture doesn’t have to be fresh out of a showroom, however it does need to be presentable and in line with your company’s image and desired impression.  Along with the selected finishes such as wall coverings and flooring, the furnishings dictate the style of business you are and create a vibe.  What’s yours?

Baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials are blending in the work force, each bringing their own work comfort zone.  If a company hasn’t established its company culture, different work styles will often clash.  Human Resources, medical, financial, or legal fields for the most part dictate a more serious company culture.  For the rest of the working world, offices have relaxed.

Staffing Issues- Another aspect of your office design impression effecting company culture is in regards to staffing.  Is your business having difficulty with employee retention, ownership transition, or simply hiring new employees?  They are hugely impacted by the office design.  For example, a candidate could choose to turn down an offer because the office and in turn business feels stuffy, deciding your competitor is a better fit.  An existing employee can start interviewing elsewhere because the environment has slowly made them feel oppressed and uninspired, leaving you for your trendy competitor.  Current owners could have a difficult time promoting and encouraging upper staff to take over the reins because the business feels out of date.  Often with new ownership comes remodeling and re branding for a reason.  Become that desired competitor.

modern office space

The Outside Environment

Biophilic Design- A new movement is growing in office design and architecture in general.  Its more than just potted plants and windows, its the re-connection of people with nature.  A wonderful film about biophilic design  explains the principles of this building philosophy that is being practiced by successful businesses world wide.  More than just businesses are benefiting from this idea; hospitals, schools, and entire city neighborhoods are bringing nature back to the forefront.

Exterior Campus- Continuing the idea of biophilic design, businesses are developing their exterior campuses.  Roof top gardens, picnic plazas, and dog parks are being installed.  Headquarter campuses are connecting to the surrounding neighborhood, blurring the boundaries into communal outdoor spaces.  If you Google Amazon’s new headquarters going up in downtown Seattle, for example, they have altered the entire city block.  By doing this, they enhance the surroundings and bring a new life to the neighborhood.

Roof top garden

The Building

In addition to office design, buildings themselves are improved.  The LEED movement of construction has brought awareness of Sick Building Syndrome and improving building efficiency.  Lights are now controlled by daylight sensors, motorized window coverings monitor heat gain and solar glare.  HVAC control air quality and circulation.  Interior finishes are more pure by reducing toxic chemicals and content.  Low flow plumbing fixtures are installed and rainwater harvesting is designed into the outside landscape.  Buildings now have recycling programs, bike storage and electric car charging stations.  Buildings don’t have to officially use the LEED certification program to benefit from its design standards.  Simply following the guidelines alone can produce a healthier and more environmentally sound building when utilized.

Office design and the working environment is very different today compared to 30 years ago and unrecognizable from the 1950’s.  A company needs to find its balance that’s inline with their values, their employees’ expectations, and their sector’s impression.  The furnishings and finishes of a business cannot be a second thought, going hand in hand with the logo and slogan,  to create the culture and outside image.  Very few have the resources of Amazon.  However, take what they do and scale it down to something you can easily implement: open up the doors, change the music, and offer free k-cup pods.  Then, set a schedule to replace the chairs, paint the walls and tear out that corner office.

The point is to bring life back into the office. We all have work to do, let’s enjoy it.


Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join in June: “How to Style

Favorite Finishes; a designer’s choice.

I have been looking forward to writing this month’s entry ever since I created my annual list of topics during the summer.  The following is  a culmination of all the finishes that I love to use as an interior designer.  Obviously, not all would make it into every project as the owner/users, project budget and function of a space dictate what’s appropriate.  Also, trying to be a well rounded designer, all interior styles and materials are workable and feasible.  HOWEVER, if I had to pick signature items for myself, these would be it…


I’ve grouped my favorite picks into categories.  Many overlap and work in other groups like the texture helps depict the style or color scheme.  But I’ve tried to group them into cohesive ideas.


Please also check out my curated style boards on Pinterest: DDS Style Boards.  I have boards for interior finishes, decor ideas, historic preservation, and mid century modern, as well as plain/simple, modern for the modern shy and a new tiny house board.

Now back to my list… let’s take a look at some examples of my favorite materials assembled together:

brick wall interior, cafe, renovated historic building, loft living

courtyard, white lights, cafe dining, al fresco dining, brick and limestone, restored property

When you layer different elements you create depth and richness, both physical and visual.  Using complimentary colors and a diversity of materials you create a balanced environment.  If you’re like me you enjoy the beauty and richness that can be found in older pieces too.  The trick when using vintage pieces is to mix them with new up to date materials around them bringing the interior to present day.  If using all vintage pieces, the interior will appear just that, dated.

Now, to briefly address items I don’t like: paisley, chevron, and herringbone patterns.  I don’t like polka dots much either, but for the right room I could squeeze a few in here and there.  For reproductions, I’m not a fan of digitally printed or vinyl imitation of materials, it always looks flat and too perfect.  Real authenticity brings dents and dings, scratches and scars, patina and dirt.  However if your budget does not afford all of the real things, don’t worry.  To quote from my July’s blog post Decorator, Designer, Architect…which one to choose? :

Never let a designer tell you that you need a bigger budget for a better impact.  Creativity and imagination can go a long way for a limited budget.”

Real materials can cost more, but can still be showcased just in smaller quantities.  Also,  function often requires something more durable, such as vinyls and polyesters, this is not a problem either.  Today’s commercial materials can deliver a similar desired aesthetic and meet the building code requirements and durability standards for the location.

When choosing materials and finishes, create depth and interest.  Interiors are to be experienced and enjoyed.  The physical environment provides a visual energy, make sure its amazing!


Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA


Join in November: “Making room in your rooms